National Museum of the American Indian Director Kevin Gover discusses the addition of the #NoDAPL mile-marker to the museum's treaty exhibition in Washington, D.C., on October 24, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Opinion

Kevin Gover: Dispelling five myths about Native American history and culture





As the director of the National Museum of the American Indian, Pawnee Nation citizen Kevin Gover gets a lot of questions about Native Americans. But not everything is true, as he explains in The Washington Post:
Myth No. 1
There is such a thing as Native American culture.
This concept really took hold when Christopher Columbus dubbed the diverse indigenous inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere “Indians.”

Myth No. 2
American Indians get a free ride from the U.S. government.
The notion that indigenous people benefit from the government’s largesse is widespread, according to “American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities,” by Choctaw historian Devon Mihesuah.

Myth No. 3
‘Native American’ is the proper term.
Native Americans use a range of words to describe themselves, and all are appropriate.

Myth No. 4
In 1626, Indians sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $24 worth of trinkets.
This myth — repeated in textbooks and made vivid in illustrations — casts Native Americans as gullible provincials who traded valuable lands and beaver pelts for colorful European-made beads and baubles.

Myth No. 5
Mascots honor Native Americans.
The use of Native Americans as mascots arose during the allotment period, a time when U.S. policy sought to eradicate native sovereignty and Wild West shows cemented the image of Indians as plains warriors.

Read More on the Story:
Kevin Gover: Five myths about American Indians (The Washington Post November 21, 2017)